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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Sanctification is an Active Race and Pursuit

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by yuehan on 2013/9/4 8:07:29

Very true, just-in!

If one wants to speak of an 'active' component to sanctification, it would be our active exercise of faith to lay hold of all the truths of God. And we are transformed as these truths are incorporated and assimilated into our being.

Romans 12:2 - " transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Amen, yuehan.

To go a bit deeper, it is Christ that we apprehend. He is the personification of sanctification, justification, wisdom, might, humility, etc.

As we apprehend Him more and more, spiritual realities are manifested in our lives. It is called the "image of Christ". We are being conformed to His image. But not against our will. We must come into agreement with the Holy Spirit and the Word, in our walk with God.

We never apprehend anything spiritual that is apart from Christ. Everything good from God is IN CHRIST and that is why we can keep it simple and just run hard after the Lord.

If we are trying to run hard after anything else other than Christ, it becomes idolatry.

If we want wisdom for wisdom sake, and not Christ, then we are living in idolatry.

1Co_1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Eph_1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

If we want gifts and not THE GIFT (who gives us all we need) it too is idolatry.

You can keep drawing analogies,,,there are many.

But, this is why Paul was so Christ-centered and not works centered, gift centered, knowledge centered or power centered, because he realized that Jesus Christ is our ALL in ALL and as we apprehend Him we have all (and more) that we need.

Php_3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

If I want sanctification and holiness to be more of a living reality in my life, I should lay aside every sin and weight that does so easily beset me and run hard after Jesus to apprehend Him. Laying hold of Him!

Another analogy is "eternal life". The Bible says to "lay hold of eternal life". People that primarily involves works but it does not. It involves a Person, Jesus Christ.

1Ti_6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Our provision for everything is Jesus Christ. God has made it very simple for us and it is best to keep things simple. Run hard after Jesus (The Word and Holy Spirit will guide you) and lay hold of Him.

2Co_11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

There is much theology "in the air" today, that muddies the waters and complicates the simplicity of Christ. It brings much heaviness and condemnation because people think they are never doing enough. They are busy in the kitchen (like Martha) criticizing their brethren (Mary), rather than sitting at the Master's feet beholding Him.

Luke_10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part (Jesus), which shall not be taken away from her.

 2013/9/4 15:21


Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. John 11:20-31

Poor Martha she always gets the rod when it comes to the kitchen sink. Yet when it came to revelation she received that which was not yet even revealed to Peter.

“Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

I think Martha was more blessed than Mary despite what we may think of Mary. Those who followed Mary did so precisely because she exhibited a greater sorrow than Martha. Martha washed the dishes precisely because she exercised more common sense than Mary. Common sense may well keep us at the sink, but if our hearts are right the Lord will speak to us nevertheless and we will understand. Notice the past tense of Martha’s answer. She already believed and understood who Christ was even before the Lord spoke to her. That puts a different light on things! Its the Martha's who in the end bring the Mary's to the living truth.

 2013/9/4 16:43


It really does not matter what we think but what Jesus says and said. Not only was Martha accusing Mary of being lazy to Jesus' face, but Jesus said "you are busy about too many things (too busy for Me), but Mary hath chosen the good part (Jesus)...

This does not mean that we think Martha died unspiritual no more than we think you are unspiritual for your mistakes in life.

What is wonderful about the Holy Spirit is that He will publish our great moments and our not so great moments as we read throughout the Bible.

Peter was rebuked in Matthew 16 (Get thee behind me Satan), engaged in dissimulation in Galatia, but had his shining moments, too. Same with Martha and Mary, and you and I.

Lest we hijack the thread, maybe another thread should be started.

 2013/9/4 17:47

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1564
Scotland, UK


These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness 1 Tim 3:14-16

Practical Holiness how you conduct yourself is a great mystery.

Oswald Chambers Quote:

The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realization that He “became for [me] . sanctification.

The most wonderful secret of living a holy life does not lie in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfect qualities of Jesus exhibit themselves in my human flesh. Sanctification is “Christ in you.

It is His wonderful life that is imparted to me in sanctification— imparted by faith as a sovereign gift of God’s grace. Am I willing for God to make sanctification as real in me as it is in His Word?

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us . . . sanctification . . . —1 Corinthians 1:30

Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ to me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul. Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy— it is drawing from Jesus the very holiness that was exhibited in Him, and that He now exhibits in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness— “. . . kept by the power of God 1 Peter 1:5

Colin Murray

 2013/9/4 18:33Profile


The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me, not gradually, but instantly once I enter by faith into the realisation that He “became for [me] . sanctification.

Here is another quote.

The wonder of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ were mine the moment I believed. Not gradually mine but wholly mine by faith into Christ Jesus. The astonishing thing is that I didn't know it at the time and since then many have lied against it to dissuade me of it. Praise God it is true and by faith, Christ is still my sanctification unto God; and for all those who believe into Him.

 2013/9/5 15:11

 Re: It is still an active face and pursuit.

Saints I beg to differ that sanctification, that is practical sanctification or practical holiness, is not this passive faith in Christ. That is you believe with no effort to prove the reality of that faith.

The passages that were quoted out of Hebrews at the beginning of this thread imply the believer is to be in a race and pursuit of practical sanctification.

Indeed Hebrews 12:1-2 follow the role call of faith found in Hebrews 11. All through that chapter faith is being described as active. Various individuals believed God and acted on it. This has to be our walk with Christ. An active pursuit of holiness. Which boils down to an active pursuit of Jesus Himself.

Paul best illustrates this in Philipians 3:12-13 when be speaks of not haviing laid hold of it yet. But forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. An active pressing into practical holiness. A pressing into Jesus Himself.

I know there are some who will decry what I am advocating as legalism or human effort. That I repudiate. What I am advocating is Spirit fillef, Christ centered discipline. That is a discipline for godliness that Paul describes in 1 Timothy 4:7-8.

The New Testament uses different anologies to describe our walk with Christ. Chief among them is the description of an athlete. Paul and other New Testament writers employ the athlete illustration to show our walk of fath, our pursuit of sanctification, our pursuit of Christ Himself is a Spirit directed discipline of active faith.


 2013/9/5 16:15

Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 431
New York


God knows our hearts. We love Him, don't we. Sin will not keep us from Him. Jesus paid it all. God will accomplish in us what He had set out from the very beginning to accomplish.

Eph 1:3-9
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight NASU

Gal 3:10-14
"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM." Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE" — in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

Rom 5:12-14
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." NASU

The sin of Adam was imputed to all his ofspring. And just as Adam's sin was imputed to all mankind, so Jesus not sinning, but being righteous, Jesus righteousness has likewise been imputed to all mankind whom accept the atoning BLOOD OF JESUS shed on the cross, taking upon Himself the punishment we deserve, that death should no longer befall us because of Adam. Whereas the sin of Adam seperated us from God, the righeousnous of Jesus has given us reconciliation with God.

With regard to the Mosaic Law, Jesus kept all of the Mosaic Law on our behalf, he died in our place, bearing the penalty of sins, on our behalf, that we may live, and receive the life abundant.

Rom 8:1-11

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

and, - Rom 10:10-13 NASU

"with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."

We are saved by our acceptance of the Blood of Jesus, the perfect Paschal Lamb WHOM took our place on the cross, and WHOSE blood washes away all our sins for all time - past, present, and future, to all whom accept the Atoning Blood of the only Perfect Pashcal Lamb - Jesus the Messiah, the only God Born of the Father, in the flesh, whom took upon HIMSELF the punishment of our sins, in our place, that we whosoever accept the atoning blood of Jesus shall receive eternal life, the life of abundant.

But what about -

Phil 2:12 & 13 "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose".

Some have used these verses to conclude that real Christians can lose their salvation, but it clearly does not say that, such is an extrapolation that is false.

Now let's take a look at Phil 2 v 12 & 13 in its’ entirety: "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose".

This is the verse I’m always given by those who claim that any Christian can lose their salvation if they are not careful, and they often quote it by starting with “work out” and stop at “trembling”. The phrase “fear and trembling” in the Greek is a poetic expression, phobou kai tromou, that Paul uses elsewhere to highlight the inner attitude one should have toward their master. We know from what is written before this in Philippians prior to these two versus that Paul is NOT telling them to be fearful, for Paul has emphasized that he wants their love for each other to abound.

When we read Philippians 2: 12-13, we should keep in mind that Paul wrote in his opening comments Phil 1:6 of his confidence "that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." This is a factual Theological Statement. It is factual because anything that God is doing will get done, no ifs, ands, or buts. Now, it must be so that whatever Paul writes after this, it can not be in contradiction to this statement. If God had begun this good work in any of them and then even one of them lost their salvation, God will have failed to have carried this good work through to completion. That is impossible.

Paul goes on to mention in Chapter 3 that there are those who God has not saved, and some of these have joined themselves to the Christian Church, but they are not saved for they are enemies of Christ. They did not lose their salvation, they never had it.

In Chapter 4 Paul tells the Christians in Philippi that they have peace with God, fellowship with God, and to open themselves to further transformation by God by dwelling on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise.” Then Paul praises their generosity and again tells them that God is working for them: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.”

So what could Paul possible mean by "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose"?

Taking the letter as a whole, Paul is praising the Philippians and assuring them of their salvation, , of whom he is confident and wants them to be also, having pointed out that that God, who is working in them, will carry His work in them through to completion. They have always obeyed, even in Paul’s absence. Paul makes it very clear that both he and God are very pleased with them. Paul can’t possible be saying that despite all this good stuff he wrote about them, that they better work out their salvation for they are in danger of still losing it. Such a conclusion would be an absurdity.

The Greek word "katergazomai" which has been translated “work out” but has several possible meanings: To Finish off, To Work, To Effect, To Achieve. Which one should be used? The ‘work’ God is doing is the Greek word ‘energeo’ meaning active and efficient work. This is where our modern word energy comes from.

It is my view that put into the context of the text, God is performing an active and efficient work in us that guarantees our salvation, and that Paul in Phil 2: 12-13 is exhorting us to put into effect the changes God is making in us, into use and practice (i.e. actualization). There is nothing here about any possibility of any real Christian losing their salvation.

Arthur Biele

 2013/9/5 16:31Profile

Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 431
New York



also EPHESIANS 2: 1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved, 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH; [by the Faith of Jesus] For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Arthur Biele

 2013/9/5 17:06Profile

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1564
Scotland, UK


Quote: Saints I beg to differ that sanctification, that is practical sanctification or practical holiness, is not this passive faith in Christ. That is you believe with no effort to prove the reality of that faith.

Well you have to define what “effort” is. I will post an artcile were he defines a struggle.

Quote: Paul best illustrates this in Philipians 3:12-13 when be speaks of not haviing laid hold of it yet. But forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. An active pressing into practical holiness. A pressing into Jesus Himself.

Paul say a two verses latter “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” Philipians 3:15 That is the day when we will be clothed in white when we will be Glorified.

Holiness – The High Calling of God in Christ Jesus Art

Today’s selection from Charles Spurgeon’s devotional Faith’s Checkbook (July 24) smote me in my inner man. It is entitled ‘Perfect Purity’ and is a quote from Revelation 3:5 ‘He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.’ And then his statement is:

Warrior of the cross, fight on! Never rest till thy victory is complete; for thine eternal reward will prove worthy of a life of warfare [struggles]. See, here is perfect calling, purity for thee! A few in Sardis kept their garments undefiled, and their recompense is to be spotless. Perfect holiness is the prize of our calling; let us not miss it.

I have never heard anyone else equate perfect holiness as being the mark of the high calling of God. Usually ‘high calling’ would be some final and ultimate expression of ministry in the bringing of the Word, but in Spurgeon’s view, which we need to soberly consider, the issue of high calling is the issue of holiness. ‘Perfect holiness’ sounds like a redundancy; if it is not perfect it is not holy. If there is any imperfection, holiness is invalidated. That is just the nature of it. To be holy implies something perfect, and that is why it is a struggle to obtain this completion, this perfection.

Spurgeon continues:

See, here is joy! Thou shalt wear holiday robes, such as men put on at wedding feasts; thou shalt be clothed with gladness, and be made bright with rejoicing. Painful struggles shall end in peace of conscience and joy in the Lord.

Do you notice the adjectives he uses: joy, gladness, bright with rejoicing, peace of conscience and joy in the Lord? I wonder if he was even conscious of what he was composing, but he touched on all the inexorable signs of holiness, namely, joy, perfect peace of conscience, rejoicing and gladness of heart. In other words, something accompanies this condition of heart when it is finally attested and attained in the life of a believer.

Let’s take joy. The attempt charismatically to obtain joy through feigned and manipulative means is the cheap effort to obtain what can only be obtained through holiness. When your mind, your heart, your thoughts, your dispositions and your motives are righteous, you have come to a certain place by the sanctifying work of God where the joy and the peace of the Lord set in. It is a remarkable state of being, and this is what I believe Spurgeon is getting at here. This is not euphoric writing or Spurgeon taking his literary liberties; he is one of a smaller company of souls who have known this and who can therefore write out of the reality of his own life.

Maybe he had the advantage of being saved at the age of fifteen. He did not have to overcome years of dissolute living, in sex and drugs and alcohol; he came virtually as an unblemished young man, and yet, he was still convicted deeply of sin. His whole Christian life had brought him to a place where he could make a statement like that. He is making a case for the issue of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus as being the issue of perfect holiness.

For when it will come, here will be the signs:

He says here is joy. Something happens when there is the joy of the Lord. You have overcome and come to a place of union with the Lord Himself where you can be ‘clothed with gladness.’ None of those nagging things that cloud our joy or rob our gladness will be there to function. They will have been taken care of in the process of the struggle of overcoming.

The mind battles, the questionable motives, the evidences that we are not in the right place will be gone. We will be able to say, in some measure, with Jesus, “The prince of this world has come but he finds nothing in me.” There is nothing that he can single out, a habit, a disposition of heart or mind or spirit that is critical, or jealous or envious or fretful or anxious. When we attain to that, there is a joy, a tremendous peace and a gladness, and we shall be made bright with rejoicing.

He speaks of vessels of brightness – a continual brightness where there is no sullenness or moodiness. ‘…and be made bright with rejoicing. Painful struggles shall end…’ because the purpose of the painful struggle was your sanctification. The struggle is between the flesh and Spirit, but the contest is now over, the Spirit has prevailed, the Lord has given you a white garment.

‘The painful struggle shall end in peace of conscience.’

Paul speaks of having a conscience undefiled before God and before men. When you’ve covered both those bases, there is no other base to consider. If your conscience is clear and free between men and God, there is no issue with God and no issue with men; you are walking with impeccable righteousness. Then the struggle has ended. And there WILL be a struggle until you come to that end, but only if you are serious about this. If you are not serious about this, and in fact, you find it normative to be moody and sullen, or live on the periphery of Christian life as an inactive participant, then there will be no struggle for you. It is only a struggle for those who want a garment, who want to be at the wedding. They want to be a privileged guest; they want to enjoy a conscience free and clear from all blemishes and from inward conflict of motive and from all self-seeking. They have walked this out with God; they have fought this out; the Lord has allowed the enemy to play upon the flesh, but they are fighting that problem through; they are not making their peace with it; they are not compromising and learning to live with it; they are fighting the good fight because they are concerned to attain to that place in the Lord of triumphant victory; they are willing for the pain of the struggle. But it ends in peace of conscience and the joy of the Lord. Can you imagine a church like that? Imagine its witness both to the Jewish community and to the Greek. Just the presence of such a people will be validated by the brightness out of which the testimony comes.

See, here is victory! Thou shalt have thy triumph. Palm, and crown, and white robes shall be thy recompense; thou shalt be treated as a conqueror, and owned as such by the Lord Himself. See, here is priestly array! Thou shalt stand before the Lord in such raiment as the sons of Aaron wore; thou shalt offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving and draw near unto the Lord with incense of praise.

I think it came up once in the class that the Levites are okay for the outer court. They can toss the sacrifice and hack the animals and deal with the public. But only the Zadok priesthood can minister unto the Lord in the holy place. The others are okay for the outer court, but the Zadokite priests, those who have kept their garments so to speak are the ones that shall draw near to the Lord.

Who would not fight for a Lord who gives such large honors to the very least of His faithful servants?

Now this is an interesting thing: ‘Least of His faithful servants.’ Here is a challenge that is put before the whole welter of the entire body of Christ. No man is excluded in the possibility of the Zadokite priestliness because of lack of right upbringing or unhappy circumstances of life or lack of character or lack of parentage or heredity or environment. There is no excuse. Any believer can obtain to this if he is willing for the struggle. So Spurgeon concludes:

Who would not fight for a Lord who gives such large honors? Who would not be clothed in a fool’s coat for Christ’s sake, seeing He will robe us with glory?

Spurgeon is saying that if you are going to take this seriously, you are going to be looked upon as a fool. You are making yourself a candidate not only of the opposition of the powers of darkness, but even for the ridicule of the saints who are content with something much less. Such will always find ways to flaunt and to taunt. If you are willing presently to put on the fool’s garment, you will be ultimately and eternally robed with glory.

Colin Murray

 2013/9/5 17:35Profile

Joined: 2012/5/13
Posts: 2936


Hi Bear

bear wrote : ////Saints I beg to differ that sanctification, that is practical sanctification or practical holiness, is not this passive faith in Christ. That is you believe with no effort to prove the reality of that faith.
The passages that were quoted out of Hebrews at the beginning of this thread imply the believer is to be in a race and pursuit of practical sanctification.////

Is our sanctification something that we offer to God ?

Or is our sanctification a gift from God ?

 2013/9/14 9:23Profile

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